In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #13

A moving one-shot that reaffirms why Green Lanterns exist.

The covers: The expected pair of covers for DC fans to get feverish to find. Though both covers have their merits, their actual composition is generic — just a bunch of lanterns on the cover. This should have been the tip off that this was going to be a filler issue. The Regular cover is by Mikel Janin. It’s a decent cover of several of the famous lanterns: Arisia, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, Hal, and Kilowog. It’s a good image, but the coloring is really soft. If the colors had been brighter, I think this would have been much stronger. It works as it is, but this could have been really dynamic. The Variant cover is again by Kevin Nowlan and it too features several Lanterns: John, Kyle, Guy, and Hal. The lanterns are either in a volcano or some other setting that is exploding. I’m a huge fan of Nowlan’s work, so this is the one I had to pick up. Overall grades: Regular B+ and Variant A-

The story: This is an issue that has nothing to do with any of the present lantern stories. It’s a filler — a story that features the characters, but could take place at any time in their history. Given the turmoil that Hal and the lanterns have gone through, finally reuniting last issue, it makes sense that some of the creative crew takes a rest. However, this story, “Heroes” by Robert Venditti, really impressed me. On the planet Xudar, sixty years from now, Somar-Le, a grandmother, tucks in her two grandchildren. Naturally they want a story, so she decides to tell them a story she’s kept hidden: “I’ve kept it secret for fear of scaring fledglings so young.” Somar-Le was eleven and with her parents in Tomar-Re Plaza. “The day was perfect. The sort a child might soon forget. Until I heard the screams.” Starro has arrived and releases his parasites. What follows is a fairly horrific point of view of what it’s like when this infamous monster takes over a civilization from an eleven year-old’s perspective. I’ve never read a story told like this and I found myself creeped out for the first time in years by the giant starfish. Having the story return to the grandmother telling the tale was an excellent way to show how the children are effected. Naturally the Green Lantern Corps arrives and it’s an incredibly heroic entrance. How they defeat Starro is detailed as the story expands beyond this and I found myself really caught up in this tale. This story defines how others see the lanterns and who their many foes are. This is like a primer for the GLC and it works wonderfully as a tale told to children. The final two pages made my heart soar. I felt like a kid again. This is great introductory issue into Green Lantern for new readers and something to reaffirm why fans follow the corps’ exploits. I loved this. Overall grade: A

The art: The penciller on this issue is V Ken Marion and the inkers Paul Neary and Dexter Vines. This book looks good. The opening panel transports readers instantly to another world. I love artists that can do this so succinctly. Page 2 shows how this alien society has several similarities to that of our own, which allows the reader to relate to these characters. The close up at the bottom shows an alien character, Somar-Le, but creates a face that undeniably carries compassion and warmth. Starro either looks silly or like a generic monster when he’s drawn, but this artistic team has done something rare: he’s a terror. That first panel on 4 has him looking anything but humorous. The close up of the parasite as it’s about to attach to Somar-Le is grotesque and scary — which is exactly how it should look. Given this illustration, it’s amazing that Somar-Le didn’t have psychological scars for the rest of her life! The double-paged spread on 6 and 7 is the perfect heroes’ entrance: they look like gods arriving. I loved the final panel on 8 which had me cheering and laughing. The next page has the lanterns fighting a different foe and he and his minions look awesome. 10 and 11 is another double-paged spread. This is a nice look at some of the lanterns’ key foes, but there’s a lot of empty space. It seemed that one page could have been filled just as easily and probably would have looked better with the villains in closer proximity to each other. 12 and 13 also did not rate a double-page spread; half a page would have sufficed. 14 and 15 is the final double-page spread and his makes up for the previous four pages: this is every color of lantern (save black and white) hammering each other. This looks terrific. The penultimate page is beautiful and I smiled at the visual before I read the text because I realized what was going on. This was a perfect visual ending, with the final page being a sensational nod to the past. With the exception of Pages 10 – 13, everything looks outstanding. For a tale that covers all aspects of the corps, those pages should have been filled with more characters. Overall grade: B+

The colors: Right out of the gate, the coloring on this book looks sharp and never disappoints. The first panel has some terrific lighting effects, great character toning, and the exhaust from some backpacks that allow their wearers to fly slickly. The lighting effects in the second panel on the same page are great; they exude warmth before the reader enters the location. The warm colors within the setting on 2, and returned to often, emphasize the love that Somar-Le exudes. Starro’s coloring make purple look like the most reprehensible color in the world. The arrival of the lanterns uses a blue background to highlight their many shades of green. Other lantern colors look just as strong, with the colors on 9 super, because I love that antagonist and his coloring is spot on. I have nothing but praise for Alex Sollazzo’s work on this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, the book’s credits, the story’s title, dialogue and narration (the same font), screams, and yells are created by Dave Sharpe. His story titles and book credits are always the best of any title on the shelves, plus his yells are beautiful, “RUN!” We’re only four weeks into the year, but SSSKKKRRAAAAWWG! is my favorite sound so far of 2017. Overall grade: A

The final line: A moving one-shot that reaffirms why Green Lanterns exist. This will convert readers into fans. Overall grade: A-

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Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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